The cost of a postgraduate diploma in Canada vs everywhere else

postgraduate diploma in Canada
Canada houses over 100 public and private universities that offer more than 15,000 programmes at all levels and covering all fields of study. In this, you may wonder, how much does it to pursue a postgraduate diploma and is it worth it? Source: Sebastien St-Jean/AFP

Is it affordable to pursue a postgraduate diploma in Canada? 

That question lingers in the minds of many who plan to pursue this postgraduate academic qualification in Canada. 

After all, this country houses three universities that sit within the top 50 spots of the QS World University Rankings 2023

Plus, Canada is the seventh-best study-abroad destination in the world, according to US News and World Report. Much of this has to do with Canada’s quality of education and various working opportunities for graduates in Canada

What this means is that graduates can develop invaluable skills beyond uni — and a postgraduate diploma in Canada is a quick and easy way to set yourself apart from your peers. 

postgraduate diploma in Canada

With news of businesses struggling to fill job vacancies in Canada, the country is becoming more dependent on temporary residents — including international students — to fill its labour force needs. Source: AFP

Postgraduate diploma in Canada: An overview 

Currently, Canada houses over 100 public and private universities that offer more than 15,000 programmes at all levels that cover various fields of study, which include:

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate programmes
  • Professional designations
  • Certificate and diploma courses 
  • Short career-focused programmes 
  • Co-operative education (co-op) and internships 

In this, a postgraduate diploma in Canada represents a potentially quick route for students to qualify for a postgraduate work permit in the country. 

With news of businesses struggling to fill job vacancies in Canada, the country is becoming more dependent on temporary residents — including international students — to fill its labour force needs. 

“There are more job opportunities than there are workers in almost every community in Canada,” Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told CIC News

He adds that the recent lift in working hours for international students — which will end on Dec. 31, 2023 — would hopefully help international students work in service jobs or find employment in their field of study.

However, what’s the difference in cost between pursuing a postgraduate diploma in Canada and other countries? Do their fees justify the quality of education and career prospects for graduates?

We answer all of these questions and more.

postgraduate diploma in Canada

In Winnipeg, you’ll find the University of Winnipeg — a public university with a dynamic campus and downtown hub that connects people from diverse cultures. Source: AFP

How much does it cost to do a postgraduate diploma in Canada?

The cost to pursue your postgraduate diploma in Canada comes in two parts: tuition fees and cost of living. Depending on your status as a local or international student, your tuition fee will vary. 

Take the University of Winnipeg, for example. It is a public university with a dynamic campus and downtown hub that connects people from diverse cultures. 

They also offer several courses that are unique in Western Canada. Tuition for a one-year postgraduate diploma in artificial intelligence costs CA$15,100 for local students and CA$21,815 for international students, according to its website. 

That excludes the cost of living in Winnipeg (CA$1,241.5) or other fees you might incur as an international student, such as purchasing textbooks

Do note that some postgraduate diplomas last for two years, so you should factor in the extra tuition fees when considering pursuing this postgraduate qualification in Canada. 

postgraduate diploma in Canada

The cost of living in Montreal is estimated to be CA$1,188.8 without including rent. Source: Geoff Robins/AFP

Can I get a job after a postgraduate diploma in Canada?

The great news is you can! 

According to the Canadian government website, you must satisfy the following requirements to obtain a post-graduation work permit:

  • You must currently hold valid temporary status or have left Canada
  • You must graduate from an eligible designated learning institution 
  • You must complete an academic programme at an eligible institution in Canada that is at least eight months in duration, leading to a diploma. 
  • You must maintain your full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of the programme (do note that there are a few exceptions to this) 
  • You must receive a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI (the letter and transcript must be included in your post-graduate work permit application) 

Alternatively, you can consider the Express Entry pathway. While it is not a visa, this online system can speed up the process of applying for a work visa in Canada.

Which postgraduate diploma is in demand in Canada?

If you are unsure about the best postgraduate diploma to pursue in Canada, some of the areas you can consider are: 

  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Retail Trade
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 

The healthcare and social assistance industry also has Canada’s highest number of job vacancies for any sector in October 2022, coming in at 151,200 for Jan. 2023, according to CIC News

Doing a postgraduate diploma that is related to these sectors will not only increase your chances of securing employment, but also give you a headstart when starting a new job. 

postgraduate diploma in Canada

Studying in Canada to be one step closer to permanent residency. Source: Geoff Robins/AFP

Is a postgraduate diploma in Canada worth it?

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, a postgraduate diploma in Canada is more than an opportunity to secure employment in the Great White North. We go through this below:

1. It is a chance to secure permanent residency in Canada

On Nov. 1, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a new policy to attract 1.45 million immigrants between 2023 and 2025. This comes after Statistics Canada revealed that immigrants made up 23% of the country’s population in 2022. 

Fraser’s announcement couldn’t have come at a better time since he recently announced a “five-pillar plan” to address the country’s overflowing application backlog toward meeting its ambitious immigration target.

“Temporary foreign workers and international students play an important role in Canada’s economy and that is why the government aims to enable greater pathways to permanent residency,” the official statement read.

Take the Ontario Provincial Nominee Programme, for example. Once a province nominates a foreign national for Canadian permanent residency, they can apply to become a permanent resident.

If you recently graduated (which includes being a postgraduate diploma graduate) with a job offer in Ontario, this option is ideal for securing permanent residency. 

2. Canada has a diverse population 

More than 450 ethnic or cultural origins were reported in the 2021 Census Programme by Statistics Canada. 

The top origins reported by Canada’s population, alone or with other origins, were “Canadian” (5.7 million people), “English” (5.3 million), “Irish” (4.4 million), “Scottish” (4.4 million) and “French” (4.0 million).

What’s more, statistics in the 2016 Census Programme showed that 215 languages were spoken in Canada. 

This makes Canada a great place for international students or immigrants to live in, as it’ll be easier to find your community with similar interests, passions, and ideals. 

postgraduate diploma in Canada

Canada isn’t the only country where you can study a postgraduate diploma. Source: Henry Nicholls/Pool/AFP

Postgraduate diploma in Canada vs other countries

Of course, Canada is not the only option to pursue a postgraduate diploma — plenty of uni in countries worldwide offer excellent postgraduate diploma programmes for international students.

How does a postgraduate diploma in Canada compare to those in other countries? We detail this below.

Postgraduate diploma in the US: An overview

US unis are well-established in terms of ranking and reputation. They emphasise less tradition and more modernity, allowing students to explore a wealth of opportunities and activities while they advance in their academic pursuits.

How much does a postgraduate diploma cost in the US?

Do note that some US uni offers graduate certificates instead of postgraduate diplomas. Like Canada, this postgraduate qualification is relatively affordable. 

The University of California, for example, offers a wide range of postgraduate programmes through its educational arm (UCR University Extension). 

Courses are flexible. Students can choose to study in person, online, via webcast, or in a hybrid learning format through Zoom and Canvas. They can learn at their own pace or on a schedule. 

International and local students pay the same fees. A postgraduate diploma in big data technologies, for instance, will cost students US$18,200, which translates to £14800.97.

Comparing a postgraduate diploma in the US and Canada to other countries

While the unis in US and Canada offer postgraduate diplomas, they are not the only options for students.  

We compare the cost of pursuing a postgraduate diploma at other well-ranked unis in Australia and the UK: